Foster + Partners recently unveiled its latest Apple store. Located in Macau, China, the building is intended to resemble an oversized paper lantern and features an upper facade made from a "first-of-its-kind" glass/stone composite that the firm likens to stained glass.

Apple Cotai Central was designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with Apple's design chief Jonathan Ive and vice president of retail and online stores, Angela Ahrendts.

The building is situated in a bamboo grove and fronted by a public plaza. Its ground level is wrapped in a glazed facade flanked by a bamboo screen, but the upper facade, which is translucent and glows softly at night, is the most notable feature of this building.

"The first-of-its-kind glass-stone composite facade comprises five layers of glass integrated with incredibly thin layers of stone, which gives the building its distinctive materiality – appearing as translucent stone walls, akin to stained-glass," explains the firm. "The structural frame is supported by just three corner columns wrapped in mirrored stainless-steel that reflect the patterns and colors of the facade, dematerializing the structure and blending seamlessly with the surrounding environment."

Inside, bamboo grows in the central atrium, mirroring the grove outside. A large wall-mounted screen is also installed and two stone staircases offer access to upper floors where display tables are installed.

Britain's Foster + Partners is very much Apple's architecture firm of choice and the two companies have collaborated closely in recent years. As well as designing its high-profile stores, it was responsible for the tech giant's futuristic new headquarters and visitor center.

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